Ministry of Justice sets up section on ‘foreign agents’

posted 24 Nov 2014, 04:11 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 24 Nov 2014, 04:12 ]
19 November 2014

Source: (info)
The Ministry of has set up a “section for foreign agents” within its department for non-profit organizations, Pavel Chikov, head of the Agora human rights organization has reported on Twitter.

According to Chikov, a phone call "from the foreign agents’ section" was made to Agora’s lawyer, Ramil Akhmetgaliev in connection with the case of the Golos Association for the Protection of Voters’ Rights, which had previously demanded that they be removed from the register of foreign agents, Mediazona reports.

опровергают сведения об иностранном финансировании. 1 сентября этого года Мосгорсуд признал незаконным привлечение "Голоса" и его главы Лидии Шибановой к административной ответственности за неисполнение обязанностей иностранного агента, однако НКО до сих пор не исключена из реестра.

"The caller identified himself as an official from the section for foreign agents and asked us to wait for an answer on the question raised by Golos since they have, and I quote, ‘so many court cases now that we can hardly keep up’,” said Chikov. Chikov added that the new section falls within the department for nonprofit organizations headed by Vladimir Titov.

The press service of the Ministry of Justice was not available for comment at the time, and the Ministry’s official website there is no information about the creation of the new section.

The law on "foreign agents" has been in operation in Russia for more than eighteen months. According to this law, the receipt of money from abroad by organizations engaged in political activities should be included in a special register of "foreign agents". Many organizations that appear on the register are contesting their inclusion. Some NGOs do not accept that their activities are political; others, including Golos, deny that they receive funding from abroad.

On 1st September this year, Moscow City Court ruled that the prosecution under administrative law of Golos and its director Lidiya Shibanova for failing to comply with the requirements of a foreign agent had been unlawful. However, the NGO has yet to be removed from the register.

Translated by Graham Jones